Alien ends with two survivors: Ellen Ripley, of course, and the cat, Jonesy. We spend almost all of the movie with Ripley but don’t get too up close and personal with her furry co-star. Until now, that is.
Titan Books has just released Jonesy: Nine Lives on the Nostromo, an illustrated book by Rory Lucey. It tells the story of the classic 1979 Ridley Scott film from Jonesy’s point of view. And, as you’d expect, Jonesy saw things a little differently than everyone else on the ship. Here’s the book’s cover:
Lucey, an illustrator and art teacher living in New Jersey, came up with the idea for the book after showing Alien to his wife. “She only wanted to know one thing before we began: ‘Does the cat die?’,” Lucey told io9 via email. “For a movie that ends with two survivors, one of them being Jonesy the cat, we really don’t get to see much of what the cat is up to throughout the film. As an artist who lives with a goofy orange feline, I started sketching what nine lives on the Nostromo might be like, which is how this book got started.”
The book follows the movie very closely but, instead of scary, it’s playful. “At the scary moments I tried to either diffuse the situation with cat hijinks, like Jonesy licking his butt in the escape pod during the final showdown, or play into the tension and have Jonesy be scared,” Lucey said. “Cats don’t exactly react to situations in human-appropriate ways, so just staying true to that helped bring the humor in naturally.”
Want to see some example? Here are eight pages io9 is delighted to exclusively debut.
Though we don’t see it above, one moment Lucey was particularly looking forward to was the death of Brett, played by Harry Dean Stanton. “It’s such an important scene in the film in terms of revealing the real threat of the fully-grown Xenomorph and a moment that hinges on Jonesy,” he said. “I wanted that to be part of the book but I knew that I would need to strike the right balance in tone.”
Which, of course, was the biggest challenge: Telling a terrifying story from the perspective of a cute little cat. Lucey just hopes families who enjoy the book are mindful of the source material. “What I’ve said to my art students is that they should pay attention to the context clues of what is happening around Jonesy in the book,” he said. “And see if they, one, really want to see a movie like that and then two, have a conversation with their parents about if it is the right time.”
If you’d like to grab a copy of Jonesy, it’s out now.